Constructing a firefly appetizer

We don’t just serve food. We are sometimes called upon to create a mood, a setting or a presentation of an everyday food item and transform it into a work of art .. only to watch it disappear forever into the bowels of humanity .. hey, that’s a good one!

 The ICA Forum Roundtable has so many beautiful photos of food and events. I’d like to share my story of one event that really got my creative juices flowing and gave me great satisfaction.

Being a barbeque caterer our presentations can be very different. Each one of us has a unique style all our own, or we sure think we do.. loll. We eventually perfected our own style and service over time with help from Catersource and all of you.

Still .. the pictures that some of you post make me envious and also a little intimidated sometimes. I am smart enough to know my limits but also naïve enough to take on challenges that excite me. Isn’t that why we love this business?

Still there are some jobs that I just can’t say no to. These usually involve some creativity which is something I thrive on. Give me a challenge and I will rise to the occasion .. no guts.. no glory! (no brains either sometimes.. sigh)

Ok .. back to my story, this one is about  a firefly. The meal was to be plated (I kinda suck in that area but took it on anyway) that’s the no brains cutting in. The event was only 50 people and the hosts were super nice and the cause was something I believe in.. Camp Fyrefly (a camp for minority youth).header_2

So I need an appy that will be served when they sit down at the start of dinner. I happened to mentioned in passing, to the host, my stint at Catersource where I was helping a fellow caterer at his booth selling edible Asian spoons and he was intrigued.

photo : Edibles by Jack
photo : Edibles by Jack

The host googled his site and decides he would like the miniature spoons with a take on a firefly done three ways ..raw , puréed.. and? (three spoons x 50=150) plated as an appetizer.. Budget is 27.00 a plate, this includes appy, a salad served .. entrée and plated dessert. (no room for miniature spoons, but I will do one for dessert) 

The budget was lean so we had  to  keep it simple.. and my skills will be taxed plating up the main course. On the other hand I need to give this event a wow factor because they are expecting some great donations from the guests.. maybe 300.00 a plate?

ok.. don't laugh , we do need a starting point sometimes.
ok.. don’t laugh , we do need a starting point sometimes.

I looked for help on a special blog-site I belong to for keeping in shape (they have caterers on there).. I posted a picture of what I was considering . I was shut down immediately “unless that firefly needs to get in shape or lose weight remove it”.. darn! Couldn’t even sneak it in…

Putting it up on Icart was a little intimidating for me  (now that would have been the smart thing to do). Once you check out the picture you will understand, but we all need to start somewhere.

It is starting to shape upswing substitutes cheese and crackers
It is starting to shape up using substitutes cheese and crackers

Ok so now where was I .. oh yes, a firefly..  I needed a light for my creation and I had a vision already in my head. I googled the insect and then had to decide what kind of food I wanted for the appetizer. The theme was a champagne and camp type meal.

Cheese and crackers appealed to me as something you would take camping. I started constructing a firefly with food I had in my fridge and trying to visualize the end product. I substituted cucumbers for ritze crackers and grapes for olives.. well you get the picture.

We all do what we need to do to create a wow factor… mine was lights dimmed and servers come out with trays of glowing appetizers set down in front of guests . The lights go up when last guest is served.

Firefly appetizer
Firefly appetizer

The effect was amazing and all I imagined it would be. We went on to serve a deconstructed Waldorf salad in a sealer jar with a spinach and feta cheese bun. We followed with an Idaho baked potato hollowed out and filled with an Angus beef stew accompanied with cubed and seasoned beets, rutabaga and a colorful wedged pepper baked in tinfoil.

Deconstructed Waldorf salad with spinach and spinach/feta roll
Deconstructed Waldorf salad with spinach and spinach/feta roll
Gourmet camp stew
Gourmet camp stew

 Dessert was s’mores theme, chocolate edible spoon with a piece of chocolate and a marshmallow broiled and served with fruit skewer.

edibles by choc. s'mores spoons
edibles by choc. s’mores spoons

The event raised over 30,000.00 and it was very exciting indeed. My hopes were that my part in all this helped them reach a new high in donations and in the end that is what counts. That and the hope my firefly will live on in some-ones memory..

We may not be heroes by any stretch of the imagination, but we do ..’ go above and beyond ‘.. more times than not and need to toot our own horn once in awhile.. don’t you think?






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